Artist Of The Week - Anchor & Braille

It's been about three years since we've gotten an album from Anchor & Braille, the indie side project of Anberlin's Stephen Christian, but this week, on July 31st, the band's sophomore album will be released. The Quiet Life is a collection of haunting melodies and catchy percussion, certainly a maturation of sound since 2009's Felt. The Quiet Life is available now in stores and online through Tooth & Nail Records.


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This has been a huge year for Christian hip-hop, and we are only half-way through. We’ve had some releases that I’m certain will go down as some of the best in the genre’s history, and a few that deserve to, even if they end up fading from the eyes of many.

A few months back, everyone was buzzing about Lecrae’s Church Clothes mixtape. The release matters because it was sponsored by none other than DJ Don Cannon, and produced by guys who have worked with some of the biggest names in hip-hop. This wasn’t your standard “Christian mixtape” release, by any means. The mixtape followed on the heels of Lecrae’s BET performance (on the ‘international cypher,’ of all things), as well as his appearance on Statik Selektah’s album, Population Control. You can pick up Lecrae’s mixtape for free here [], if you want to judge for yourself. It would also function as a pretty decent introduction to the genre, if you’re unfamiliar.

Of course, if you’re looking to get into the genre, there are lots of directions you could go. There are a number of albums I would very quickly recommend (Swoope’s Wake Up, Lecrae’s Rehab, Flame’s The Sixth, just to name a few), but few that I could point you to if you wanted a no-cost entry into the genre. If that’s what you’d like, though, let me point you to Humble Beast Records.

The entire label is filled with talented artists, both on the mic and on the turntables, and they always put out their music for free. Of course, you can also purchase hard copies of the albums, and buying a t-shirt or something is a great way to support them, but if you want a place to test the waters of hip-hop, they aren’t a bad place to start.

Which leads me to this: Humble Beast’s latest artist is a group called Beautiful Eulogy—made up of already-signed artists Braille, Odd Thomas, and Courtland Urbano—who just released their debut album Satellite Kite. If you’ve already listened to Lecrae’s Church Clothes, then you heard these guys on the track “Misconception” (in my opinion, the strongest track on the release), and got to hear Propaganda as well (also signed to Humble Beast).

If you’re looking for thoughtful, interesting, and musically creative hip-hop, you couldn’t do much better than turn to Beautiful Eulogy (and, if I’m being straightforward, to anything put out by Humble Beast). In fact, they’ve given me a lot to think about just on this release, and I haven’t really listened to anything else for the last week or so since I got it for review.

There’s something for nearly everyone on Satellite Kite: you have a very well done sermon sample that introduces the group’s name; features from Propaganda, Lee Green, and Catalina Bellizzi; raps that vary in their speed but never suffer from ‘mush mouth’; and some of the most interesting production I’ve heard in a long time. Even if you don’t find their message appealing (explicit presentation of the Gospel, by the way), you’ll find something you can enjoy hearing. They don’t pull punches, lyrically or stylistically, and that is something we can all learn from.

Be on the look out for Christian hip-hop this year; it may just blow your mind.

J. (James) F. Arnold is The Christian Manifesto‘s music editor, generally tasked with managing title requests and podcast programming. A theologian and philosopher, he also dabbles in pop culture and ancient texts. James is currently working towards his Masters in Philosophy of Religion from Talbot School of Theology. He currently holds a BA in Biblical Studies from Biola University and is a perpetual member of the Torrey Honors Institute. He is a regular contributor at Evangelical Outpost. Aside from writing about music, James enjoys reading up on philosophy, ancient texts, technology and video gaming.

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